A person working as a certified pediatric nurse is an experienced professional in the medical field who specializes in working with patients from birth to age 18.
Duties of a Pediatric Nurse
A nurse who specializes in pediatrics may find work in a doctor's office or clinic, hospital or facility offering critical care services.
The nurse may be required to do any or all of the following as part of their professional duties:
- Performing "well child" examinations
- Routine screening for developmental concerns or issues
- Diagnosing and recommending treatment for common childhood illnesses
- Counseling parents about child health concerns
- Giving immunizations by injection
- Performing a school physical
- Caring for children who are injured or ill
- Interpreting laboratory or diagnostic tests
Education to Become a Pediatric Nurse
The first step in the educational journey for a person who would like to specialize in pediatric nursing is to complete the requirements for a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing. This four-year program includes courses similar to the following:
- Alterations in Health
- Alterations in Neuro-Psychological Health
- Applied Health-Care Ethics
- Clinical Rotations
- Communication for Health-Care Professionals
- Community Health Nursing
- Comprehensive Health Assessment
- Data Analysis in Clinical Practice and Health-Care Research
- Developmental Issues in Nursing
- English Composition
- Family and Child Development
- Health and Wellness
- Human Anatomy
- Human Physiology
- Microbiology and Immunology
- Nursing Management
- Nursing Research
- Nursing Theory, Practice, Research
- Professional Growth and Empowerment
- Restorative Health Related to Multi-System Failures
- Science and Technology of Nursing
Once the requirements for earning a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing have been completed, the next step in the process to become a certified pediatric nurse is to get practical experience with young patients.
For nurses who want to be recognized specialists in pediatrics, the educational component of the process isn't finished yet. To gain certification in this area of nursing, a registered nurse must also complete an advanced degree in nursing, which is either a Master's degree or a Ph.D., with a specialization in pediatric care.
Becoming a Certified Pediatric Nurse
In the United States, the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB) is the entity responsible for administering exams and issuing official certification to pediatric nurses. Once the nurse applying for this designation has submitted documentation confirming completion of his or her studies at an accredited institution, a time will be set for writing the National Primary Care CPNP® exam.
The exam is administered via a computer terminal and is made up of 175 multiple-choice questions. Only 150 questions are marked for the exam; the other 25 are considered pre-test questions and are not included in the pass-fail calculation. The candidate is given three hours to complete the test.
Before leaving the testing center, the candidate will know whether he or she passed or failed the exam. If the candidate did not pass the exam, he or she will be given up to three more chances to do so. There is no waiting period involved if someone wants to schedule an appointment to retake the exam.
Pediatric Nurse Salary Information
Why become a certified pediatric nurse? According to Salary.com, the salary range for a registered nurse specializing in pediatrics is $48,900 and $72,900 per year. Adding the certified designation received from the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board means the nurse will receive a higher salary on the job. The PNCB estimates that certified nurses receive just over $9,000 more in salary than nurses who don't have this designation.